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3 types of invisible abuse that could lead to divorce

On Behalf of | Apr 10, 2024 | Divorce |

Divorce is usually the result of a breakdown in communication, trust and/or mutual respect within a marriage, leading to irreconcilable differences and the decision to end the relationship. Abuse in a marriage is also a leading cause of divorce.

While physical abuse is widely discussed as a cause of marital breakdown, invisible abuse can be just as damaging if not more so, under certain circumstances, yet it often goes unnoticed or unacknowledged. The following are examples of invisible abuse that could lead to a broken marriage.

Economic abuse

Economic abuse is one of the subtle yet insidious forms of invisible abuse that can lead to divorce. This type of abuse involves controlling or restricting a partner’s access to financial resources such as by withholding money, preventing them from working or accessing education or sabotaging their financial independence. Economic abuse can trap a spouse in a cycle of dependence and powerlessness, making it difficult for them to leave the relationship even if they want to.

Psychological manipulation

This involves tactics such as gaslighting, guilt-tripping or constantly undermining a partner’s self-esteem and confidence. This form of abuse can be challenging to recognize because it often occurs subtly over time, leaving the victim feeling confused, invalidated and emotionally drained. The manipulative partner may use tactics to control the other’s behavior, thoughts and emotions, creating a toxic dynamic within the marriage.


Isolation occurs when one partner deliberately restricts or controls the other’s social interactions, preventing them from spending time with friends, family or participating in activities outside the marriage. This isolation can leave the victim feeling lonely, disconnected and dependent solely on the abusive partner for social support and validation. The isolating partner may use tactics such as criticizing or belittling the other’s social circle instilling fear of judgment or consequences for socializing or creating conflicts to discourage outside relationships.

Seeking legal guidance and professional support can be helpful in understanding one’s rights and options when experiencing invisible abuse in a marriage.